Designer babies – Hindutva style

The RSS, the parent organisation of Hindutva based political and cultural movement in India, was always obsessed with racial purity and a staunch believer in greatness of traditional Indian health care system, Ayurveda. Combining the two, its affiliate organisation Arogya Bharati is conducting seminars and counselling sessions in different cities for Indian couples to get the baby they desire.

The two-day workshop and counselling “Garbha Sanskar” in Kolkata – for future parents to give birth to the “Best” Child, as announced and organised by Arogya Bharti, the health and family welfare wing of RSS in the South Kolkata office of the RSS. The announcement and advertisements (which clearly state that the organisation is part of the RSS) clearly described that the two-day workshop will be on reforms of child bearing and counselling of couples on “how to have a good child”. As D-day grew closer, the language of the ads changed to “best child” and examples of geniuses and celebrities symbolising this “best”-ness surfaced. Unsurprisingly, these were mostly men who had become the “best” through the traditional Indian practice of Ayurveda.

One of the ads in social media reads, “Weeds may grow in garden without attention, but to have a beautiful flower one needs proper planning and regular attention….The traditional Indian practice to have a good child is gradually becoming extinct and society is suffering from the subsequent poisonous result”. It was not clear what was meant by “weeds”.

  • Image credit: Narinder Nanu/AFP

A reporter of Indian Express newspaper decided to enquire into this manufacturing of designer babies by interviewing some parents who got such babies and the doctors who designed them.

Ordering some Kathiawadi chai, Dr Jani adds, “What we are doing is not genetic engineering. We are just trying to ensure that the coming generation is strong and capable. Just because Hitler spoke about something similar, why is it considered wrong?”
Repeating the objective of a “samarth Bharat (strong India)”, Dr Jani says, “The foetus is the hardware and six elements are the software. We see the soul as the sixth element. So if we work around the hardware and the software, we can get the desired babies.”
About the claim of the programme to make ‘fair babies’, Dr Jani asserts, “Fair does not mean white. Fair here means the child will have a glow, a soft, radiant glow making the complexion clearer.”

First come pre-conception measures called ‘naadi shuddhi’ and ‘deh shuddhi’, lasting 12 days. “We start with a yagna done under the watchful eye of a cow. After that the man and woman undergo massages and follow a strict diet plan. They are taught how to meditate and pray.”

Then come “72 days for parents to think about the kind of baby they desire”. “In these 72 days they have to abstain from sex. Seventy-two days is what it takes for sperms to be formed. Then we decide a date and time when a couple should conceive. That sex is for reproduction and not pleasure. They have to pray to god or think of the kind of baby they want while indulging in procreation. The missionary position works best,” says Dr Narvani.

The time for sex is decided based on the “alignment of planets”, so that “all positive forces are helping give birth to a child who will bring greatness”, she says. As part of the programme, they guide the couples and their children till the latter are 12 years old.

Now let us hear what the parents have to say.

“I was very clear I wanted a child who will excel in sports. Look at her, she is a skating champion. When I was told to focus on what I desire, I made sure I focused on sports for my first child,” says Aarti.
She also concentrated on maths while pregnant, as that was her weak subject. “Hiya tops in maths now,” beams the 35-year-old.

It is important for our future generation to follow dharma. See the children today, they go to the disco, take drugs, eat non-veg… In my house, at 5.30 am, a priest comes and both my children pray and even apply gau mutra (cow urine) if required,” says Aarti.

At home in Vastrapur in Ahmedabad, the Mehtas show off their Uttam Santati — 29-day-old Heyanash, who lies staring at the fan, in his mother’s lap. “Can you see the tej (glow) on his face? He is glowing despite being a premature baby,” says Stuti’s mother-in-law Pragna Mehta.
Stuti and husband Hemendra, who helps out in the family construction business, got to know of the Ved Garbh programme at an RSS yog shibir (yoga camp). Both Pragna and Hemendra are RSS members.
Stuti, 25, says they first went through the programme for daughter Haveeshaa, now 3. “I would pray for my child to have qualities like Swami Vivekananda. Now look at her. Her teachers tell me she is one of the brightest children in her class. The priest of the temple in our neighbourhood gives her a flower before he places one before God,” says the mother.

One thing is sure. Though these ‘designer” babies may not have any special abilities there will be many buyers for this pseudo science bullshit.

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